Occupy LA, LAPD Clash at Downtown Art Walk, Non-Lethal Weapons Fired, Arrests

 

According to KTLA, broadcasting live at 10:25pm in Los Angeles, the LAPD is on citywide tactical alert, with rapid response teams and hundreds of officers in downtown Los Angeles. Non-lethal “stinger balls” were fired at protestors, reported to be from Occupy LA. An  LAPD officer was injured, a suspect captured, and hundreds of protestors and just folks driven from the Art Walk area.

There were numerous arrests, KTLA says that bottles have been thrown. (You can read KTLA’s account and see their video here.)

This action was to be people chalking the sidewalks and in the street, according to Occupy Los Angeles’ Facebook. 

“Tonight, #ArtWalk in #DTLA becomes #ChalkWalk! Occupy Los Angeles has had a laughably ridiculous 12 arrests the past 6 weeks for children’s sidewalk chalk. Tonight from 7-9pm, occupiers, artists, enthusiasts, rebels, and the intrigued will defend the First Amendment and freedom of speech.”

Using washable chalk on the sidewalk is not in and of itself a crime. Blocking sidewalk is the issue.

Downtown Art Walk draws thousands of people to check out galleries and socialize, and many of them were just hanging out during the protest to see what wass going on. Live video from KTLA  anbd a photo on qmanhellerman’s photostream shows chalking in the streets (including some suggestions to commit certain Anglo-Saxon verbs on the police) and people sitting in the street.

More from Facebook:

[Live!] LAPD taking care of crime? Chalking is NOT a crime! Be our eyes and ears tonight! Watch us Live! -GR
[Live] Children & young people yelling at LAPD to go away. Even children know more about our rights than them. Please be our eyes & tonight!
Watch us Live or get down to DTLA and support us!-GR
[Live] People now filling the streets as LAPD in tactical gear are putting on facemasks and look like theyre moving in. Crowds chanting “Whose streets! Our Streets!” -GR
[Live]Thousands in the streets now, still no dispersal order, cops have leathal weapons, the people chanting “Show me what a police state looks like, this is what a police state looks like!”
Watch Live: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/pmbeers  [La Figa note: That Livestream is down at press time; try this Global Revolution link]
[Live]We Need Medics on the ground! This is an emergency. People bleeding from rubber bullet shot. -GR

From the news media: There  have been dispersal orders, but the LAPD is allowing the media to stay within 40 feet of police at all times. KNBC reports that bottles were thrown at their news vans and some protestors tried to climb onto the news vans. A police vehicle was also vandalized. The reporter added

In all fairness, some protestors were calling out others to stop throwing rocks and bottles.

These photos from my TV show the police in stand off mode and one bystander who said he was just walking down the street when he was hit by a rubber bullet. Occupy LA, per KNBC, says they will try to spend the night. There are currently more officers than protestors, per KNBC’s 11pm broadcast.

Officer Karen Rayner from the LAPD called into KNBC to report  that at least one officer was injured, struck by a skate board. There was no official arrest count at press time.  Officer Rayner says that incident began at 8:40pm when protestors started blocking the intersections during Art Walk.

The monthly Art Walk is when the majority of downtown businesses, which are locally owned, experience a huge upsurge of customers; one business owner told me that he and other small businesses depend on Art Walk, since it’s when thousands of Angelenos come to Downtown. It’s also when dozens of locals artists get the opportunity to show and sell their work. Art Walk has experienced some troubles in the past–public intoxication, crowds spilling into the streets; and a death when a car jumped the curb, striking and killing an infant. Local merchants, artists and residents  have worked hard to make Art Walk a success after every setback, and it is a treasured event, one of the few places where people from all over the city mix and mingle. You can hear the subtle thought process:

This is why we can’t have nice things.

At 11:27, KNBC says the police are reopening Spring Street, and situation is over, but it remains fluid. Occupy LA says, per KNBC, that they will be back tomorrow.

Update from eyewitness Eric Copeland via my Facebook page:

news stations came late to the party and all got their info from the police spokeperson. police gradually increased tension – first by slowing traffic with orange cones and dozens of police cars and motorcycles, then bringing in riot squads, then moving people around, then pushing people, then clubbing people, and finally firing rubber bullets. most all civilians were artwalk attendees. sick stuff. reminded me of the old police incited punk confrontations. no cops = no problems! the great chalk riots of 2012! so shameful those chalk games of tic-tac-toe on the street. sorry, but if “occupy” is trying to claim credit they are deluding themselves. i was right on 5th and spring. people ignored the guy on the megaphone. artwalkers were intrigued, then bothered by the police actions – not rallied to action by politicos.

UPDATE: Twenty arrests per KTLA, 19 according to LA Times; four officers injured, one with a concussion.

From a friend attending artwalk via my Facebook:

The cones and dozens of bike cops had been dispatched by the time we left at 9. The occupy protectors were making a big scene from early, maybe 7, over (at that time) two people who had been arrested for chalking. So then they handed out more chalk. Self-fulfilling prophecy, I say.

 

The Livestream is back up http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/23953533. From Occupy LA’s Facebook:

ABC 7 tried to block the livestream around the 13 mark and fights with livestreamer.

Shot fired around 14 min mark.

Streams-
http://occupystream.com/

And another photo of an injured civilian form Occupy LA’s Facebook

#N17 Marches, Good Jobs LA and Occupy LA: Actions and Arrests

Thursday, in two separate actions, several hundred people participated in a march organized by Good Jobs LA, with folks from Occupy LA, SEIU and citizens joining in as part of a general day of action to protest police actions in New York and elsewhere, and planned arrests went off without a hitch;  later in the afternoon, a large group from Occupy LA marched back to the Bank of America branch and some folks were arrested. There was no violence in either action.

Occupy LA at Bank of America, 11/17/2011 afternoon:

For the first march, 7am donuts, coffee, bananas and oatmeal bars were laid out for the protestors, news crews were in place and buses arrived with more people to join in. The Bureau of Street Services had closed off intersections and freeway off-ramps to accommodate the permitted march, and of course the LAPD was in place. This was a planned and permitted march which promised a banner hanging from an overpass and tents set up in an intersection, plus scheduled arrests! Wow, party!

 

The crowd warmed up for about half an hour with a drum trio and a rocking chant leader who rallied the crowd with

Tell me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!

Hola! Good job! LA!

Rebuild! LA

then the march began. As we turned a corner, Epic Fail Guy (aka Anonymous) and friends unfurled a huge banner reading

We Come In Peace

while dancing and posing. It was dramatic and goofy at the same time. EFG continued his frolicking on the other side of the building and mysteriously appeared on a flatbed truck with the chant leader at intersection of 4th and Figueroa where a huge banner guarded by sheriffs deputies hung from an overpass proclaiming

LA Needs Good Jobs

As promised, there was civil disobedience: Three tents were set up in the center of the intersection and twenty protesters with blue armbands circled holding hands. Eventually a lot of police showed up (it was kinda scary to see the really big schoolbus painted black with LAPD stenciled on it) with riot helmets and batons. But since there were no gas masks or shields, it was clear this was just crowd control.

Some, however, did have the latest fashion accessory, the “green gun” – a rifle with a green stock and strap which indicates it shoots rubber bullets. All of this was very structured. After we all got on the sidewalk, the police broadcast an order to disperse, declaring an unlawful assembly. After the second order, the cops marched in stood in front of the chanting crowds on the sidewalks, holding their batons, while a another group moved in and handcuffed the designated arrestees. First up, an 82-grandmother.

Each arrest was greeted with cheers and lots of news footage–all the local and national networks were there, plus police video teams, and it looked like at least half the crowd had cameras. When all 20 were arrested, the LAPD hopped on their riot-mobiles and sped away. We all began to disperse, though some stayed for speeches.

It was very stylized, regimented, well-orchestrated, though having police at both ends of the street was a little disconcerting, but there was street with sidewalks we could have used to bail if it had gotten weird.

I noticed some of the police officers doing crowd control didn’t look happy, they seemed uncomfortable with the idea that if things went south, they’d have to bonk folks with batons, folks of all races and colors and age, moms holding babies, senior citizens and scrawny artist types with cameras. Luckily, despite one hysterical woman who was shouting that we all needed to get in the streets and was moved away by organizers, the crowd listened to the chant leader who urged us to give the civilly disobedient their space and clear room for the officers.

Meanwhile, Occupy LA has filed a restraining order to prevent the LAPD from dismantling the camp without notice, and Police Chief Beck told the LA Times he is working to negotiate a timeline for the camp to leave. At camp factions have emerged: The rabid frothing anarchists–some of whom have come down from Oakland to radicalize Occupy LA and think, depending on who’s talking, Los Angeles Occupiers need to get off their butts and raise some havoc, get arrested, maybe smash some shit and, like you know man, start the Revolution, get tear-gassed, get their heads beat in, and generally make the eleven o’clock news, ‘cuz like Los Angeles looks like lazy sissies, we gotta represent for the Revolution, man; the more by-the-book activists who see the advantage of staying arrest-free during protests (this week there were five arrests relating to inter-camp issues including assault and lewd behavior), and believe in reformation through action and also in not repelling the average citizen with acts of violence including property damage; and the people who are just hanging out and doing nothing but living in the camp.

Later in the day, Occupy LA took over Bank of America Plaza on their own. There were numerous arrests.

 

Today I’m going to camp with FDL member Bluewombat to deliver socks, Neopsorin and other supplies from the FDL Occupy Supply Fund. The camp is still having massive food problems; the Health Department has been dropping in to inspect any kitchen Occupy LA uses for camp cooking, and donations of packaged foodstuffs are needed because the camp has lost another kitchen.

“Http Makes Us All Journalists”

The arrest and release of journalists in San Francisco who could prove they were members of the press has prompted  the creation of press passes for anyone interested in joining the Fourth Estate because

Http makes us all journalists.

True.  Bloggers are the new pamphleteers. Just remember:

Publish or perish, search for supporting information and cite your source.

#opBART Second Protest: Arrests Made, Journalists Detained, Police Use Batons on Protesters


 

OpBART began the week with another protest at San Francisco BART stations and myBART.org being taken offline to protest the shut off cellphone service on BART out of fear of a demonstration against the shooting of a homeless man by BART police, the second fatal shooting by BART officers in two years. There was a high turn out of both BART police and SFPD in riot gear, and from photos and video there appeared to be five officers to every protester.

According to SF Appeal, the majority of protestors did not wear Guy Fawkes masks, though some were barely clad. Civic Street Station was closed, and police arrested a man and a  woman at the Civic Center station.

San Francisco Bay Guardian reported:

As a few protesters began to gather, surrounded by dozens of riot police and media, a uniformed BART police officer told a young African American man he would be arrested if he raised his voice. Chanting began in response among the small pack of protesters, and the man was promptly arrested by BART police.

As he was being led off the platform by police, a woman who stood in the center of the platform began verbally engaging a BART officer, saying, “BART police need to be reformed. Make BART Safe. Make BART safe.” She was apparently arrested for nothing more then her words. Deputy BART Police Chief Daniel Hartwig said he could not provide any information about what the arrestees would be charged with.

The SFBG video of arrest is here.

The crowd, estimated between 80-100, outnumbered by police, moved up and down Market Street. Powell Street Station was opened and closed then opened again. The Ferry Building was closed to prevent protesters from entering.  Firecrackers were thrown at the police, and some hooligans pounded on the windows of closed shops. Protesters keep in touch via Twitter.

The crowd chanted

Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!

as they stood  in front the cops. The photo above, of her friend risking a photo, was taken by Vivian Ho who posted it to the #opBART twitter feed. Other video of march here and here.

Some tweets included

8pm:

4th and Market. Group trying to start fire. Throwing Firecrackers at Police and Crowd? #OPBART-RadioRelay

KEEP IT PEACEFUL. WATCH FOR THOSE THAT TRY TO MAKE IT VIOLENT #opBART
Garbage cans were knocked over, and trash was thrown. #opBART twitter and Mission Local reported eight arrests. One commuter was briefly detained after he went after a protester, per SFAppeal. He was not arrested.
IndyBay’s twitter feed reported 30 arrests/detentions, including at least one reporter, at 8:43pm local time, and confirmed by the SF Examiner’s twitter feed. One of those arrested  around 8:45pm was Mission Local blogger Helene Goupil. Mission Local provided live feed to this protest and last week’s. UPDATE: Mission Local’s Helen Groupil was “detained.” She tweeted at midnight:

Thx for the tweets everyone, I was able to show police my business card and was let go #opbart #mlnow
Others arrestees reported via Twitter that they were booked and released.
The journalists tweeted that they were released after showing police their webpages:
This one’s simple: Last week Bay Area Rapid Transit shut off cell service to stifle protests of a killing by transit police.  We’ve seen officials across the globe threaten and take similar actions: from dictators trying to cling to power in the Middle East, to Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, to Joe Lieberman and his Internet Kill Switch legislation.
It’s time to draw a line in the sand: Please sign our petition condemning BART, encouraging the Federal Communications Commission to investigate, and warning other public agencies that we won’t tolerate censorship.
AT 9pm, this was posted to #YourAnonNews and #opBART which also warned against a tweeter under the handle of Nov5 who was acting as an agent provocateur on the Twitter feed. Protesters were also urged to move away from anyone acting disruptively.
Most were cited for failing to disperse or illegally blocking traffic. Police spokesman Albie Esparza said no vandalism was reported in connection with the demonstration, but police did confiscate a hammer from one demonstrator.
Anonymous promises more protests on Monday August 29 beginning at 5pm.
photo 1: VivianHo, via  Twitter to #opBART.
photo 2: Anon Medics! Jay@pghTiger via Twitpics
video 1: Mission Local

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